Ice Cream Cones Are The Missing Ingredient In Your Fried Chicken

If you've run through your the pint of ice cream before using them all your ice cream cones — or are the victim of purchasing an unfortunate box of crushed pieces — there are other creative ways to use them. One just happens to be for breading fried chicken.

While it might sound a little out of left field at first, truthfully it makes total sense; cones are made of vegetable shortening and flour but also have a bit of sweet bite to them and added texture that creates a great crust.

Waffle cones would be ideal for this purpose since cake cones have a styrofoam-like texture that would absorb way too much oil in the fryer, and sugar cones are likely too sweet. Waffle cones, on the other hand, have a crisp texture, light sugary notes, and a crumb that's just dense enough. Use for any fried chicken dish where you want a marriage of sweet and salty, but avoid something very savory like chicken parmesan. You'll also want to choose a store-bought waffle cone that doesn't include much more than flours, oils, and a sweetener, and skip any that have extra flavorings like vanilla or cinnamon. 

How to bread fried chicken with ice cream cones

To try this at home, you'll want to start by crushing up the cones. Place them in a sturdy plastic bag and pound with a rolling pin, or simply give them a blitz in the food processor. The smaller the pieces, the more easily they will adhere to the chicken — think somewhere between a Panko breadcrumb and an Italian-style dried breadcrumb.

Then, grab three shallow bowls or deep plates to set up your breading station. The first should contain all-purpose flour, the second should have a beaten egg, and the third should have your crushed waffle cones. Season each bowl's contents with a big pinch of salt, and consider adding additional seasonings to the flour and egg bowls depending on what you are making. (Ground black pepper, chili powder, or cayenne pepper would go well within the dry ingredients, and a squeeze of Dijon mustard or a dash of hot sauce could be a nice seasoning for the egg).

Next, dredge whole pieces of chicken, chicken tenders, or pounded chicken cutlets first in the flour, then the egg, and finally the waffle cone crumbs. Pop the pieces of chicken in a deep fryer or a large pot of hot oil. Once they've finished frying, hit them with a sprinkle of salt right out of the hot oil, and then let the pieces drain on a wire rack.

There are so many ways to enjoy it

Waffle cone fried chicken is great all on its own but could also be the ultimate option for chicken and waffles. There are plenty of spins you can take with it too, to make it different each time, like topping with pickled jalapeños for a spicy kick. 

You could also make waffle cone breaded chicken strips, and serve with complementary sauces like honey mustard, maple barbecue, teriyaki sauce, sriracha mayo, or hot honey. Or, take a perfectly crispy chicken cutlet with a pile of apple and fresh fennel slaw dressed in a lemon, honey, and grainy mustard vinaigrette for a tasty salad.

And it's not just chicken that works. Sausages, corn dogs, and pork cutlets are all options, too. Try a waffle cone breaded pork chop served alongside apples cooked with thyme and shallots. Or, grab a brioche bun and layer it with breakfast sausage patties breaded in waffle cone crumbs and eggs poached in maple syrup for the ultimate breakfast sandwich. For a meat-free alternative, consider vegan "chicken" strips made of tempeh, or sticks of low-moisture mozzarella cheese. Whichever direction you take, waffle cone breading is sure to be your new go-to.